It’s been 16 years since Kelly Clarkson’s memorable audition for American Idol, which she later went on to win. Kelly is now one of the four judges on the popular singing competition show, The Voice. With eight hit albums a decade and a half later, Kelly has made her presence known in the music industry as a fierce, confident and enormously talented singer-songwriter. However, the road to her stardom and fame has not come without a few obstacles along the way.

Kelly clashed over creative differences with her first record label, RCA. During a time when record executives were trying to use the looks of a woman rather than their music-talent, Kelly found herself having to defend her position to be treated as an artist as opposed to a sex object. Kelly recalls saying to executives, “I have one life and I don’t want to live it like this, and it’s cool if you feel like my ship is sinking, but I just want to make sure I’m at the helm, that if I’m going to go down, it’s because of [me].” Throughout her entire music career, Kelly has refused to compromise her integrity and convictions as an artist, or as a human. It’s important for her to remain true to the songs that she sings and represent them in an authentic way.

Kelly contributes a lot of her success to the struggles that she’s had to endure on her rise to fame. At one point, she was living in her car after her apartment caught fire while living in Los Angeles. By the time she auditioned for American Idol, Kelly felt as though there was nothing to lose and felt her strength and courage during those moments. Her biggest influence is Aretha Franklin, the unofficially titled “Queen of Soul.” Kelly says, “Aretha is a flawless vocalist.”

Kelly’s newest album, “Meaning of Life” was released in 2017 and debuted on the Billboard 200 at number two. She has reached number one on the Billboard 200 more than 100 times throughout her career with over 25 million albums and 36 million singles sold worldwide.